An honest chat about weight loss

Do you want to lose weight? If so, do you feel guilty about wanting to lose it?

This has been a really common theme among women I’ve spoken to recently. While the whole body positivity scene is amazing, some feel like it’s made wanting to change your body something to feel guilty about.

So yeah, another thing that should be making us feel good can, on the flipside, make us feel guilty.

Then there’s the how to lose weight – most of us know that traditional mainstream diets like Slimming World and Weight Watchers are setting us up to fail in the long term, yet sometimes they can feel like the only option when everything else seems too complicated or expensive to try.

Annnd there’s the guilt again.

This whole weight business is a messy one – for many of us, having a desire to lose weight is almost automatic because as women we are socialised to have a desire to be thinner. Diets and weight loss are a feminist issue because while you’re practically starving yourself or placing all of your energy and focus into counting points or fucking syns or whatever then you aren’t using it to smash the patriarchy and fight inequality.

But even if we scale it back from big issues like that, on a personal level when you aren’t firing on all cylinders because you’re hungry and all you can think about is how many carbs are in that thing, then it’s really hard to actually start and deal with the real stuff that isn’t making your life as shiny and awesome as it should be.

And this might be hard for us to hear, but sometimes we can gloss over issues with our jobs or relationships instead focusing on the things we feel we need to fix about ourselves – rather than fixing those scarier things.

And yes, on the flip side if all you’re eating is cake, crisps and rose wine, then you aren’t going to have much energy for the bigger stuff either.

So what the hell is a girl to do? (spoiler alert – it has a lot to do with balance)

Honestly…I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better for each and everyone of us, but unfortunately it’s harder work than that – anyone who says otherwise is full of shit.

I think each of us has to ask ourselves what the real reason we want to lose weight is. If it’s trying to fit into an unrealistic image of what a woman should be, then it could be time to follow all the body positive Instagram accounts and check yourself.

But, if being honest with yourself, it’s maybe about feeling healthier, fitting into your clothes and ultimately, living more wholeheartedly, then there are ways to honour yourself and lose weight at the same time.

Remember – you can be the finished product and a work in progress all at once

Here are my tips on approaching weight loss in a more wholehearted way:

Gratitude

Have gratitude for all the awesomeness of your body right now. Everyday write down what you love about it, even if to start off with it’s really fundamental things like appreciating you have five senses for example

Don’t wait on the weight

Don’t allow yourself to put anything on hold ‘until you lose 10lbs’. Fuck that. Buy the dress, go on the holiday, say yes to the date. Anything other than that gives the weight loss process more emotional investment than it deserves. When you lose weight you can always eBay the clothes!

Focus on the actions, not on the results

This might sound backward but instead of focusing on the end result, i.e. the weight loss or change to body shape, put the focus on the actions you’re taking – for example eating more vegetables and moving your body more – and most importantly, finding reasons to enjoy doing those things that have fuck all to do with weight loss.

Don’t make a thing of it

Weight loss is a very emotionally charged thing for women which means it can be very easy to self sabotage as soon as you make a big thing of it. Avoid that by not making it the focus. If you do have to weigh yourself, try and make it of secondary importance to how you feel.

Habits Tracker then Food Diary

My advice would always be to start with a habit tracker like the one I use here, tracking things like veggies and movement and if you’re not seeing any changes then try a food diary. Personally I really love the habit tracker because it helps you focus on a range of positive things you’re doing for your health rather than micro focusing on weight.

What I’m doing personally to lose weight

So I’ve been pretty honest about my desire to lose some weight over the last few months and the guilt I’ve felt about that – which I have resolved.

I’ve honestly followed every single one of the tips above, and right now I’m doing both a habit tracker and a food diary (I find the food diary helps me be more conscious and mindful of what I’m eating). I’ve also rejoined the gym which is having a big difference already.

For me, I try to be really focused Monday – Thursday (my work days) where I eat lots of veg, protein and fats and then much more relaxed at the weekend where I’ll enjoy pretty much whatever I fancy, as long as I’m still eating proper meals (snacking on less healthy food throughout the day instead of eating proper meals at the weekend used to be my issue). So far it’s working well with slow but consistent weight loss – but most importantly I’m feeling really good.

I splurged on plenty of new clothes and I feel really good in them. I feel good about my body. When you get to that place, the number on the scales or in your jeans doesn’t seem to matter as much if that makes sense.

What I’ve realised is when I want to lose weight, it’s because I want to change how I feel. Sometimes I don’t actually have to lose weight to do that.

As I said, this whole thing is a big tangly mess – and if this has rung true with you, I’d love to help you get detangled.

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As always I’d love to get your thoughts. Have you struggled with any of this? How are you approaching losing weight?

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  • Jess

    Hello!

    I’m really interested in your discussion of this. This is something that has followed me around, too, in my own journey to wellness. I was pretty at peace with my body prior to having my son 2.5 years ago (after about 5 years of working on . I assumed through time as I maintained healthy practices I would return to my pre-babe size and it just didn’t seem to be happening.

    I had a highly unlikely/unexpected experience in which I went to see an intuitive reader in Sedona, AZ during a 3-day solo trip I took there to celebrate finishing nursing school (after an awful slog of a year of life for me and my family). The reader primarily worked with angels and, while I didn’t know much about angel readings, I was open to receiving wisdom.

    She told me many spot-on things in our reading, but one totally unexpected thing she said was, “Well, this is always kind of awkward, but the angels are telling me you are holding onto physical weight as a way to physically pad yourself because you don’t know how to live with all of your sensitivity and you are never clearing your energy or protecting yourself from taking on others’ energy.” BAM! This was totally out of nowhere as I hadn’t mentioned anything about my weight. This message, coupled with some new tools I learned from her about protecting my energy and how to clear it, has allowed me to make an awesome shift in habits and just feel better/more at peace.

    The biggest take-away I have from this is that I was on a hamster wheel and fighting with myself about food because of absorbing cultural messages about needing to be thin to be worthy, and then conversely, pushing back on those messages and teaching myself that all food has value and that I should eat anything I wanted. That pushback led to a new unhealthy attitude in me where I felt I had to “rebel,” and that rebellion wasn’t necessarily tuned into my physical and spiritual needs. I was just really confused!

    I feel like I’ve arrived into a new paradigm in which I stay flexible but largely eat food based on how I feel when I eat it and how it nourishes my body/supports my spiritual growth… Also, I think my attitudes about food/my body have been indicating what I still needed to heal–even things that seemed to have nothing to do with food, like not taking on others’ energy!

    I especially like your tip on having gratitude for your body. <3 <3 <3